CHARLOTTE - Before the Rolling Stones rocked Bank of America Stadium nearly 15 years ago, Scott Paul was among those climbing aboard a forklift to set the stage for the concert event.
Before the "Brothers of the Sun" Tour takes center stage at the stadium Sunday, Paul is really doing some heavy lifting.
Now the stadium's operations manager, Paul and his staff are making final preparations for the first concert on the Panthers' homefield since the Stones.
"We've benefited a little bit from our experience with the Stones, but it was so long ago," said Paul, who was a stadium operations assistant in 1997. "We're in the business of football. We know how to do that great. With this, it's just the unknown with 200 guys coming in and taking over your building.
"It's just not what we typically do, but it's something that we're learning from and that we'd like to do more of in the future if the timing is right."
The timing couldn't be better for "Brothers of the Sun," headlined by country music legends Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, who have produced 41 number-one songs and won five Entertainer of the Year awards and three Grammys between them.
Photo credit Danny Clinch
Chesney had the most successful country music tour of 2011, and McGraw had the top tour of 2010. Both are avid sports fans: Chesney produced and narrated a football documentary that debuted on ESPN last year, and McGraw is the son of former Major League relief pitcher Tug McGraw.
"We are excited to bring such an incredible event to Bank of Stadium, to our fans, and to the Carolinas," Panthers president Danny Morrison said. "Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw coming together for this concert is extraordinary, and we are thrilled to be able to bring this event to Carolinas in such a large-scale atmosphere."
Only a few tickets remain for the event, which is expected to draw nearly 50,000 fans. It kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, with Jake Owen as well as Grace Potter & The Nocturnals preceding Chesney and McGraw.
About 50 members of the tour's crew descended on the stadium Wednesday morning to begin setting up. After the sixth leg of the 19-city tour wraps up Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn., 23 tractor trailers containing more equipment and more crew will make their way to Charlotte.
By Monday evening, things will be back to normal at the stadium, aside from the need to re-sod parts of the field in preparation for the next big event, Fan Fest on August 4.
"I'm very excited about Sunday - and Monday even more so," Paul said. "It's a great lineup of talent, but it's just a stressful process to get there.
"I'm a big country music fan, and they're among the hottest acts on tour the last couple of years if not the hottest. It's a feather in our cap to get a show like this."